Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, 1958
Directed by: Satyen Bose
I am so charmed by this film. Enchanted. Spellbound.
Has there ever been a film ever made that is cuter than this one?
The answer is "no", by the way.
Not only does the film boast the two actors I have no ability to refuse, Madhubala and Kishore Kumar, but it also sparkles with comedy, the most realistic dialogue I've ever heard in any film, a few murderers and jewelry thieves for good measure, adorable songs and a whole lot of heart.
Chalti Ka Naam Gadi tells the story of three brothers, Brijmohan (Ashok Kumar), Jaggu (Anoop Kumar) and Mannu (Kishore Kumar) who run a car mechanic shop and exist under one rule: girls are bad. This philosophy is challenged when Mannu helps Renu (Madhubala) one rainy night when her car has broken down. As men and women are prone to doing, Mannu falls in love with Renu and must save her from a marriage to a murderer. In the process Brijmohan reclaims his long-lost love and Jaggu finds his own girl to woo.
Do you know how hard it is to think about this film seriously and not just type: "Gahhhh this is so precious I want to dieeee!"? It's impossible, only my love for you keeps my head on my shoulders and my brain inside my head*.
How can anyone not fall in love with this man? He always seems so jolly. Every role I've seen him in is just an extension of himself; frolicking about, crab walking down stairs, dancing, humming and singing and laughing. He comes across so fun loving and vibrant he just melts your heart. You don't even have to factor in what his voice does to me to understand my undying, eternal love for him.** In this film he is absolutely adorable, I just want to pinch him and hug him and pat him on the head simultaneously. Plus, he yodels. Enough said.
If I had to pick between who I thought was more adoreable, Madhubala or Kishoreji I'd probably rather die. They do not make them like Mads anymore. At all. Today's heroines can just lay down and die because they have NOTHING on her. They aren't even in the same arena as her. She's so lovely and classy, refined with such an aura of glee about her. Plus, those eyes, that face, that laugh, that voice... Sigh. It's unfair that all women are not made in her image.
The Madhubala-Kishore Jodi.
This film was made the same year that Kishore's first marriage ended and he started his relationship (at least formally) with Madhubala. You can so tell that these two people are in that blissful, new love stage of their relationship. They way they look at each other, the way they move around each other... Usually such overt and sweet love turns my stomach but with these two you just want them to go on and make goo-goo eyes at each other.
Lest I forget the other Kumar brothers, it must be said that they're also as equally adorable as Kishore bhai. The trio play off of each other so well it make the comedy of the film so seamless and endearing.
The language of this film was so real and true to life. As I read the subtitles I just thought, "jee, I've said that before!". It is nice to see characters acting like real people, saying logical and real lines. The language isn't flowery or overworked, it is just natural. Perhaps this is most obvious when after dropping a lot of hints Renu says to Mannu "You haven't understood a thing." and in the "girl talk" that Renu shares with her best friend.
Speaking of girlfriends I must take a moment and also swoon over the roles our ladies had in this film. They not only had substance and depth but they were saucy, flirty and smart. They knew how to fix a car and knew what they wanted from their men and they got it. Hooray!
The songs in this film are just cho chweet you want to die. Look them up, watch them, and smile. Once again my favorite, Burman, composed the songs. Perhaps the best song of the bunch, however, is Ek Ladki Bheehi Bhaagi Si".
This film also boasts a infant Helen! Blink and you'll miss her (I didn't even get any good screen-caps of her!) but she is there flaunting her moves and absolutely dancing alongside the equally fabulous Cukoo.
Please, people, just watch this film. Bas.
*Yes, because that sounds sane.
**Ok, and the whole Sumit thing... because, I know the allure of that hair: